Attorney General Jeff Sessions declined to say Wednesday whether he had discussed with President Donald Trump or any other administration official the possibility of pardoning the President’s personal attorney Michael Cohen.
“I’m not able to reveal the contents of any communications I might have with the President of the United States or his top staff,” Sessions told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee.
A day before, ABC News’ White House correspondent Jon Karl asked President Trump whether he was considering a pardon for Cohen, but he dismissed it as a “stupid question.”
The President’s personal attorney has been under federal criminal investigation for several months, with federal agents secretly reviewing his emails, which recently culminated in a raid on his home, hotel room and office. According to court documents, Cohen “is being investigated for criminal conduct that largely centers on his personal business dealings.”
During Wednesday’s hearing, the attorney general made clear he believes Trump has the authority to unilaterally pardon Cohen and anyone else, but insisted that such presidential pardons should only be made following a previous consultation with the Justice Department.
Sessions, however, refused to say whether he would recuse himself from the Cohen matter, as he had done for the Russia investigation.
Meanwhile, he expressed support for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the person overseeing the Russia investigation, who recently received criticism from President Trump.
Rosenstein “works every day to do the job that he is called upon to do, that got dropped in his lap,” Sessions said. “I do have confidence in him.”
Senators on the panel expressed support and encouragement for the attorney general, who has also found himself in the crosshairs of Trump’s ire. He did, however, say that his relationship with Trump was good and that they got along.